In 2007, Vermont House leaders brought assisted suicide to a floor vote, only because they were convinced it had the votes to pass. It ended up failing decisively, because citizens like us told their representatives in no uncertain terms that they did not want this legislation.
We are in the same situation now. It appears that the Vermont House has the votes to pass the Oregon style assisted suicide bill voted out by the Human Services Committee and expected to be voted out by the Judiciary Committee before the end of this week.
THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO STOP ASSISTED SUICIDE FROM BECOMING LAW IN VT THIS YEAR. We MUST TELL OUR REPRESENTATIVES THAT WE DO NOT WANT IT.
Even if you have already called, please call again, and please get like-minded friends to call. We MUST generate more calls than the proponents, who are well financed with out of state money and are able to hire many lobbyists and to run tv ads.
Some people have told us they have emailed because they feel too shy to call. Calls are much more effective, especially if you ask to be called back. If you emailed before, please be courageous and call now. Call your representative at home. You can find your representative and his or her contact information at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/districts.cfm?Body=H.
Here are some talking points against legalizing assisted suicide:
- It may lead to an increase in the overall suicide rate, as has happened in Oregon.
- It is a recipe for abuse of the elderly and the very sick. With no witnesses required when the lethal drugs are taken, who would know?
- It will lead to the premature deaths of people whose prognosis is wrong and who might have lived for years.
- It will lead to insurance companies or government programs steering people to suicide by covering it rather than treatment.
- It will leave family members and friends devastated to learn after the fact that their loved one has committed suicide without telling them.
- Its very existence will create pressure to commit suicide to save families, insurance companies and the state the cost of care.
- It will destroy the relationships of trust between doctors and patients and between doctors and other doctors.
- It will devalue the lives of people with disabilities by labeling the care they need to survive as “undignified”.
We will ask for a third set of calls when the bill comes to a vote on the House floor, probably next week. You should still call now and still get your friends to call. The two committees heard from many, many expert witnesses the reasons why they should not enact this legislation, and they disregarded that testimony. Your involvement now can, and in fact is the only thing that can, stop assisted suicide in its tracks.
We did it in 2007. Let’s do it again.